Sonya Thompson is a very busy actress! You may not recognize her right away, but I guarantee you’ve seen her dozens of times in your favorite shows and movies. She has played a Professor in ‘Van Wilder: Freshman Year’ and ‘The Blind Side’, a Lawyer in ‘Drop Dead Diva’, and has had roles in many other movies, TV shows, and commercials over the years. (For full resume visit
But the the Georgia native who loves to make people smile has found her calling as one of the go-to actresses when it comes to breathing life into the walking dead. After her first turn as a zombie in the independent film ‘Night of the Jackals’, Sonya Thompson had found her calling. She is a professional zombie. And one of the best there is! She has played a walker in numerous episodes of AMC’s ‘The Walking Dead’ and her zombie alter-ego has been used in many of the shows marketing campaigns and magazine covers in the show’s four year run. But her absolute favorite zombie role came in the massively successful ‘Zombieland’.
I recently had the honor of interviewing Ms. Thompson about her roles over the years, the zombie makeup, and how she has perfected the art of the undead.
ZADF: How does it feel to be a zombie on one of the most iconic shows on tv today?
Sonya Thompson: “Its a great honor, but my favorite zombie role that I have done was on Zombieland.”
ZADF: How did you get involved in playing zombies in so many great projects?
ST: “I never knew that zombies were my forte. (lol) I normally played nurse, lawyer, detective, mother or professor roles. My first zombie role was in an indie called ‘Night of the Jackals.'”
ZADF: Did you do any sort of preparation? Zombie choreography
ST: “I study the decaying process, observed animals and movements with injuries. I teach a zombie work shop here and there and I
consult on zombie films.”
ZADF: Have you always been a fan of zombie films? Or is it something that has grown on you since you became involved? And I HAVE to ask, what’s your favorite?
ST: “Watching zombie films was another way that I researched for my roles. I have always been a zombie fan, after watching some of the newer movies like 28 days later and such, I was really impressed with them. My favorite is Zombieland.”
ZADF: Can you tell me a little about the zombie makeup process?
What’s involved and how long does it take? Is it a pain? And how do
you feel when you look in the mirror and see a zombie?
ST: “My favorite part of being a zombie is watching the make up
process being executed upon my face. Its like I am the canvas and
they are creating art on me. As I sit there for about a hour and a
half to two hours, I watch the developmental changes and start
thinking about how I am going to make this art work come to life, so
“It can be a pain when its hot out or very cold. The days can be so
long on set and if it were up to me, I would wear it for about four
hours and be done with it, but on set you are expected to be in it
for 12 plus hours. A normal day on set for me was 16 hours a day.”
“I did not enjoy wearing the eye contacts, really messed me up not
being able to see clearly. Even for about a week after wearing them,
my eyes seemed to still have fuzziness and at times I had a hard time
ZADF: Can you tell me a little about your zombie workshops? I think a lot of people would love to know they are out there, and how they can be a part of it.
ST: “I only do about 3 or 4 a year and most of the time they are located in the South east. I will be doing one May 10th in Dothan, Alabama. I normally do a two hour workshop on how to develop your zombie, how to shamble and how to snarl or growl. Sometimes, I bring in a special effects make up person and have them show you how to do your own make up like the pros do it. When that is included the work shop is a couple hours longer. I want everyone to attempt their own make up and then take a group photo together afterwards.”
ZADF: Do you have any projects coming up that we should be looking out for?
ST: “The Lumber Baron of Jasper County season three, Prosper, Cry for Revenge, All Hallows Evil:Lord of the Harvest, Encuéntrate the Film (it can be seen in 35 countries, check local listings). More than Diamonds is on DVD, This old Machine and Reunited: A Southern Touch.”
I would personally like to thank Sonya Thompson for taking the time to speak with the Zombie Apocalypse Defense Force, and for being a master when it comes to bringing our favorite nightmares to life.
For more information on Sonya Thompson, you can find her on Facebook
Or for more information about her roles visit her IMDb profile at